Lorellei Samela

Where did you grow up/study?
I grew up and studied in Davao City, Philippines.

What attracted you to teach at CAIS?
The first thing that attracted me to teach at CAIS is the word “Christian”. It is an exciting feeling knowing that I will be teaching in an environment where people share the same faith as I have and I feel comfortable with the thought that it would be easy to share this faith to my colleagues and students. Another thing that attracted me to teach at CAIS is the vision mission of the school in cultivating learners to be a whole child by having the mind, heart and life of Jesus as a guiding core value through love, wisdom, integrity and service to the community.

Biggest challenge and rewarding moment working in education?
The biggest challenge I faced working in education is the lack of facilities or materials for the students’ use during PE classes.
The biggest rewarding moment I had working in education is when I see the students’ output in terms of their physical activities and when a student improves their attitude because of the lessons or discussions I had with them either as a class or when I speak with them individually when I process their feelings.

What do you miss most about your home when you are overseas?
The thing I miss most about my home when I am overseas is the presence, love and care of my family and friends.

Can you share one of your favourite bible verses with us?
Since I was in 4th grade, my favourite bible verse which I learned in bible school one summer is, “In everything you do, put God first and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” – Proverbs 3:6

This has been my guiding principle in life ever since I memorized this.


Saia Pomana

Where did you grow up/study?
I grew up in Tonga and then moved to Australia when I was 17 to finish high school and studied for an undergraduate degree in Chemistry and later a master’s in Educational Leadership.

What attracted you to teach at CAIS?
CAIS stood out to me because of the opportunity to be involved with a school that has Christianity at its core. Being a Christian, it is important to be surrounded by other Christians in order to grow and for my children to learn and live a Christian life. I also wanted to get back to the IB curriculum. It is the educational framework that I strongly believe is the best so far in the world for 21st century students.

Biggest challenge and rewarding moment working in education?
The most challenging part of education is not being able to provide quality education for every child. Every child is different and catering for all your students’ needs can be very demanding and frustrating especially when the barriers are beyond your control. The most rewarding part of working in education is witnessing the success of the students that you have influenced their journey. Seeing a few of my former students play for the New Zealand All Blacks gives me a great sense of achievement even though I only taught them chemistry and had nothing to do with their development as rugby players.

What do you miss most about your home when you are overseas?
I always miss the face-to-face contact and evening chats with my family and close friends over the barbecue. I also miss life by the sea and doing what I love doing with my kids like kayaking, fishing off the rocks and snorkelling for seafood.

Can you share one of your favourite bible verses with us?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This is one of the first verses that I learned. My dad shared and taught me this verse in the Tongan language when I was very young and it is one of my go-to verses when I need direction and confirmation of what is happening around me.


Nicole McDonald

Where did you grow up/study?
I grew up and studied in South Africa.

What attracted you to teach at CAIS?
The opportunity to work in a school that shared my beliefs.

Biggest challenge and rewarding moment working in education?
My biggest challenge was moving away from the comfort of my home and family to pursue the path God was showing me He wanted me to take in teaching abroad. My most rewarding moment isn’t just one moment; it happens over and over. It is when I see my students grow and learn and achieve their goals.

What do you miss most about your home when you are overseas?
I miss my family, friends, Sunday braais, milk tart and sour candy.

Can you share one of your favourite bible verses with us?
My favourite bible verse is Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” This verse has helped guide me and remind me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus always.


Susan Park

Where did you grow up/study?
I am originally from South Korea. However, I grew up in Hong Kong and later completed my bachelor’s degree (UCL), MPhil (Cambridge), and teacher training (Oxford) in the UK.

What attracted you to teach at CAIS?
“Soli Deo Gloria” is a motto that I live by. Consequently, I was immediately drawn to CAIS’ mission in nurturing Christian citizens who are best able to give glory to God.

Biggest challenge and rewarding moment working in education?
The biggest challenges have stemmed from students refusing to recognise their own talents and potential as learners. The most rewarding moments are when I witness my students garner confidence in themselves and in the English classroom.

What do you miss most about your home when you are overseas?
I definitely miss my parents the most. Authentic dim-sum is a close second.

Can you share one of your favourite bible verses with us?
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20


Saria Chan

Where did you grow up/study?
I grew up splitting time between the UK and Hong Kong. I was born in the UK and then moved back to Hong Kong shortly after and had my primary education here. Then I went back to the UK to study in a boarding school for my secondary education.

What attracted you to teach at CAIS?
The vibrant community and Christ-centred approach to learning and teaching.

Biggest challenge and rewarding moment working in education?
There are many eureka moments for me. The one that excites me the most is the challenge of inquiring with students as it’s always so unpredictable but when you see students developing their thinking and having a change of mind, the light bulb moment is definitely the most rewarding!

What do you miss most about your home when you are overseas?
My family. Back then, technology was not as advanced, and we were only given 30 minutes’ phone time every day. I remember I had to purchase phone cards from a local village shop and queue outside a phone box every weekend to grab a chance to speak with my family. Now since it’s not as difficult to be in touch, I would say the convenience of exploring Hong Kong’s nature and city within an hour’s reach.

Can you share one of your favourite bible verses with us?
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9


Samuel Ho

Where did you grow up/study?
I grew up in the Toronto area in Ontario, Canada, where I also did my studies.

What attracted you to teach at CAIS?
One of the biggest things that attracted me to teach at CAIS is that it is a Christian school. I really enjoy being able to share and discuss my faith, the Bible, and the gospel with students and colleagues. I’ve also heard great things about CAIS from friends and former colleagues who have highly recommended the school.

Biggest challenge and rewarding moment working in education?
The biggest challenge was definitely my first week as a teacher – having to teach solo, acting calm, and pretending everything is under control! The most rewarding moments are when I see former students come back to visit and recollect something we did that they really enjoyed – even small things or events that I totally don’t remember!
Also, when I see students build a growth mindset, try their best, and are finally able to understand a concept or achieve a goal.

What do you miss most about your home when you are overseas?
Some things that I miss about home are my family and friends that I grew up with; the weather, fresh air, and open space, and (ice) hockey!

Can you share one of your favourite bible verses with us?
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” – John 15:12


Christine Park

Where did you grow up/study?
I grew up in Korea and went to elementary school in the United States. Living in the United States opened my eyes to the world and broadened the scope of my future to across borders. I also realized that learning a new language brings me to new places, leads me to new opportunities, and connects me with new people. This became one of the fundamental reasons why I chose to teach languages mainly as a teacher. I’ve had many more opportunities to explore different parts of the world through my schooling and work experience. During university, as I student-taught at an international school in Korea and at an American middle school I made up my mind to become a teacher.

What attracted you to teach at CAIS?
I fell in love with the genuine and rich Christian culture and the academically rigorous curriculum CAIS has. I am eager to join the welcoming, inspiring, and collaborative community of CAIS teachers. When I student-taught at an IB world school in Korea before, I found the IB Diploma Programme very exciting to teach. The opportunity to integrate social studies and global issues with some language arts throughout the curriculum at CAIS really thrills me. The school’s dynamic location in Hong Kong, where I really enjoyed traveling to before and which is also near my home country, was indeed an attraction, too.

Can you share one of your favourite bible verses with us?
Psalm 40 led my steps to CAIS as an international teacher with a missionary mindset. Putting my hope and trust solely in the Lord, I prayed with the chapter to be sent to the mission field God has planned for me. Just like verse 8: “I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness from the great assembly (Psalms 40:8 b)”, I wished to respond to God’s love and faithfulness by praising him and spreading the Gospel to the students I meet. To my surprise, Mr. Vanderpyl, the Head of School, mentioned this chapter during my job interview, and I could feel God’s strong lead and providence. As a teacher, I hope to confess my faith like verse 8 every day, and express God’s love and faithfulness to everyone I meet.


Taryn Brannekamper

Where did you grow up/study?
My name is Taryn and I’m a born and bred Capetonian. I am a wife to Ferdi and mum of two children, Sarah and Kye. We’ve been in Hong Kong since 2020.

What attracted you to teach at CAIS?
I’ve been involved in education for over 17 years as a classroom teacher, learning support and more recently pastorally within a senior leadership team. I absolutely love my job but most importantly, the ability to build relationships and walk journeys alongside students and their families. I am excited about joining the CAIS team and am drawn to the warm, loving and value-based feeling of the school.

Biggest challenge and rewarding moment working in education?
There are so many encouraging truths in the Word but within my classroom I like to remember that we are all God’s masterpieces designed with purpose!


WWW: World-Wide Whizkid - Learning in a virtual global classroom

WWW: World-Wide Whizkid

Learning in a virtual global classroom

June 20, 2022

Twelve-year-old Vinci Chan (7A) has been interested in life science, biology, paleontology 🦖 and zoology since he was 3-4 years old. His parents and teachers have encouraged him to further pursue his interests outside of school. Since October 2021, Vinci has successfully completed numerous online courses hosted by various universities around the world while still managing his schoolwork! To date, he has completed and received 25 course certificates in various areas, such as paleontology, marine life, climate change and more. Vinci also enjoys reading and at the age of two and a half already recognized 500 English words! He definitely enjoys the challenge of testing himself.

We know a lot about Vinci’s extra-curricular studies, let’s find out some other interesting and fun facts about him in some quick-fire Q & A:

How has your newfound knowledge and skills helped you in your school studies?

Due to these courses, analyzations of different things have become easy for me, like observations and research in science class. The courses also help me get a better view of the world around me. 👀🌏

Your favorite subject at school seems obvious, but tell us about other subjects or activities you really enjoy at school and why?

I really enjoy English class and Christian Ethics class because they both teach me about wonderful moments and things, sometimes in the form of amazing stories. I also love drama because it helps me communicate with others in the form of body language. 📖✝️🎭

Who inspires (or motivates) you at CAIS?

Several teachers (including Mr. Gordon Chiu and Ms. Emma Van Vuuren) and my friends around me – they help me build up my strength and confidence in my studies and in the world I live. 💪🏼

What is your most memorable moment in CAIS so far?

When I stepped up into Grade 7, it was a symbol that I worked hard towards secondary grade and that made me feel proud of myself. 📚7️⃣

Which corner of the school do you like the most, and why?

I love the lecture hall because I look forward to hanging out with my friends there after lunch, watching movies and laughing away. 🍿📽️

What are you looking forward to with the new Amenities Building?

I’m excited for the new hall because I hope the school can host bigger school assemblies, host plays for bigger audiences – and maybe give me and my friends a whole new way of watching movies! 🎦🏩

What other (hidden) talents do you have?

I can make good rhymes and have a special side for poetry. I won a United Nations’ Poetry Competition when I was in Grade 5. 🖋️

What do you want to do when you are an adult?

I haven’t decided on my future career, but it’s possible I may end up doing something that requires observation, like an animal researcher, or something to do with English, like a writer. 🦎📝

“We hope Vinci’s interests can make his school life even happier. We feel his talents and achievements are just a part of the natural progression of humanity providing innate talents for a new generation.”

– Mr. & Mrs. Chan


An interview with Boccia Paralympian Hiu Lam YEUNG

Bearing the Torch Together:

An interview with Boccia Paralympian Hiu Lam YEUNG

March 2, 2022 [updated April 1, 2022]

Last summer, CAIS had the honor to be selected by Hong Kong Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (HKSAPD) [formerly known as Hong Kong Paralympic Committee & Sports Association for the Physically Disabled] to be one of the venues for its Boccia* Regional Training Programme (eight days in July and August 2021), with the Kowloon West team training in our Primary Play Area. In fact, we were privileged to be visited by the elite Boccia athlete and Paralympian, Ms. Hiu Lam Yeung 楊曉林, who came to give a short demonstration to encourage the Kowloon West team before she flew to Tokyo for the 2020 Paralympic Games!

The Regional Training Programme culminated with the 2021 Boccia Regional Cup being held in our gymnasium in November 2021, when teams from six regions around Hong Kong gathered to compete in an exciting day of strategy and accuracy.

Just as the Hong Kong government granted CAIS a piece of land, we have in turn made our facilities available to external organizations as a part of “giving back” to the local community. It is our honor to continue to play our part in nurturing Hong Kong athletes.

*Did you know…Boccia is one of only two sports in the Paralympic Games that does not have an Olympic counterpart. It is like bowls – a target ball sport which tests both muscle control and accuracy. It is specifically designed for motorically impaired wheelchair athletes with cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. It also has a therapeutic effect on the athletes and serves as a rehabilitation intervention. It can even be played sociable by anyone, even able-bodied players as long as they stick to the rules of remaining seated. Please click 👉🏽 here for more information about Boccia.

📷: CAIS

We want to support and promote Team Hong Kong (with stellar performances from them in both the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics). We especially want to promote Boccia within our school community and give an insight to the experience of a top athlete.

We are pleased that Ms. Yeung was able to take some time from her busy schedule of training and international competitions, to speak with us (via video conferencing on January 17, 2022) about her experience, the challenges, the training required to become a top Boccia athlete, and how people can get involved/support this sport.

📷: CAIS

Last summer, CAIS had the honor to be selected by Hong Kong Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (HKSAPD) to be one of the venues for its Boccia* Regional Training Programme (eight days in July and August 2021), with the Kowloon West team training in our Primary Play Area. In fact, we were privileged to be visited by the elite Boccia athlete and Paralympian, Ms. Hiu Lam Yeung 楊曉林, who came to give a short demonstration to encourage the Kowloon West team before she flew to Tokyo for the 2020 Paralympic Games!

The Regional Training Programme culminated with the 2021 Boccia Regional Cup being held in our gymnasium in November 2021, when teams from six regions around Hong Kong gathered to compete in an exciting day of strategy and accuracy.

Just as the Hong Kong government granted CAIS a piece of land, we have in turn made our facilities available to external organizations as a part of “giving back” to the local community. It is our honor to continue to play our part in nurturing Hong Kong athletes.

We want to support and promote Team Hong Kong (with stellar performances from them in both the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics). We especially want to promote Boccia within our school community and give an insight to the experience of a top athlete.

We are pleased that Ms. Yeung was able to take some time from her busy schedule of training and international competitions, to speak with us (via video conferencing on January 17, 2022) about her experience, the challenges, the training required to become a top Boccia athlete, and how people can get involved/support this sport.

*Did you know…Boccia is one of only two sports in the Paralympic Games that does not have an Olympic counterpart. It is like bowls – a target ball sport which tests both muscle control and accuracy. It is specifically designed for motorically impaired wheelchair athletes with cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. It also has a therapeutic effect on the athletes and serves as a rehabilitation intervention. It can even be played sociable by anyone, even able-bodied players as long as they stick to the rules of remaining seated. Please click 👉🏽 here for more information about Boccia.

📷: Hiu Lam Yeung

INTERVIEW after general introductions between CAIS Advancement Team and Ms. Hiu Lam YEUNG and HKSAPD Rep.

Please tell us about yourself and how you got into Boccia?

I got into Boccia in Junior High. I went to interest classes and entered some competitions to try out the sport and ended up showing potential. My interest and sense of accomplishment in competing grew, and I wanted to develop this further. My parents didn’t know much about this sport but just thought it would be a good way for me to condition my physical frame and do some sporting activity.

There are different classifications within this sport. [As it is a Paralympic sport] Boccia athletes can’t be too physically capable/mobile. I have an eligible impairment for Boccia and entered the ranks of the Hong Kong Boccia squad.

Has Boccia affected your daily life?

Definitely. It started with me taking part in a few interest classes, then grew to me seriously focusing on training while I was still in Junior high. Those junior high days were packed with a school-and-training routine: school in the daytime, training after school, doing my homework after training, looping the same schedule every day.

Describe your training schedule. How often do you need to train? What is your routine?

As a full-time athlete now, I train 5 days a week, usually 9:30 to 6pm with 1 hour lunch break, sometimes only half a day. Two days off to rest. Not really long hours of training. [CAIS says that’s training for a whole working day!]

During my free times I’ll use one day to just sleep in late because I really like sleeping and training is sometimes tough! The other day I usually gather with friends and family, though I might train during weekends too. Family and friends are only free during the weekends, so it’s hard to find time to spend with them when they are free, but I try to do so as much as possible. I also get a break during public holidays.

What challenges have you faced personally and as a Boccia athlete?

Whether I face challenges in my training or in my daily life, it is about my attitude and mentality. In training, I have to keep training day in day out to a high-performance standard, repeating the same exercises. The challenge is to make the repetitive training enjoyable and more effective. In competitions, I have to find a way to get back on track when faced with losses or feeling like I’ve lost my touch. This mental resolve is the same for other life situations as well.

PROFILE:
Athlete’s name: Yeung, Hiu Lam 楊曉林
Boccia Class: BC2

World Ranking (as of in March 2022):
• 1st in Individual BC2 Female
• 11th in BC1/BC2 Team
Reference: https://worldboccia.io/rankings

Recent achievements:
• Ranked 5th at Boccia Mixed BC2 Individual event at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games (東京2020殘疾人奧運會) (Aug-Sep 2021)
• Two bronze medals at the Fazza Dubai 2021 World Boccia Asia-Oceania Regional Championships (硬地滾球亞洲及大洋洲錦標賽) (Nov 2021)
• Nominated for “Hong Kong Sports Stars Awards for Women” in the Cathay 2021 Hong Kong Sports Stars Awards

In which recent competition were you most satisfied?

In last year’s competition in Dubai, I competed in individual and team events [winning bronze in both]. Our success in the team event was significant as it was a new team coming together and we managed to place above Japan. You have to know that a number of top Boccia teams are from Asian countries, and Hong Kong hadn’t bettered the Japan Team for a long time, so we did our best together to secure success for the Hong Kong Team.

For team events, you need to first learn how to work together with your teammates – you need to talk together to understand each other’s issues. How long this process takes really depends on each person’s characteristics, but it was fast for us because we have known each other during past individual trainings sessions.

📷: HKSAPD
📷: CAIS

You have visited our campus before and seen one of our areas opened for external use. What did you think of our school as a venue?

Thank you to CAIS for making your school available to us and for your support, the venue was very good for Boccia and the supporting facilities were very suitable for Para athletes, for example accessible toilets for wheelchair users, which is very convenient. Many multi-purpose venues in Hong Kong do not have specific facilities for Boccia.

In the past when we didn’t have a dedicated training area for Boccia and had to go to Boundary Street Sports Centre for our weekly training, which wasn’t ideal as we often faced booking issues and couldn’t train as planned. The competition for these spaces is very keen, so if people are interested to try Boccia, they will face certain restrictions.

We understand the difficulty for Hong Kong people to book public venues to do sports. CAIS will be opening an Amenities Building with more space and facilities for sports and performing arts, which again will be made available to external organization outside of school hours. What if more schools could also make their spaces available?

Your school is very well equipped. Of course, it would be great if other schools could do what CAIS is doing with their venues, hiring it out for Boccia and other such sports to the public.

Fortunately, after our [Hong Kong Boccia athletes] success in competitions, we now have our own training venue for full-time and part-time athletes at the Hong Kong Sports Institute – since 2015. We’re very thankful for this. However, there are still a lot of outside people, such as budding athletes and the public, who experience difficulty in finding venues to learn and practice this sport. It would really show the spirit of sports participation in the community if other schools could provide more venues.

📷: HKSAPD
📷: HKSAPD

Apart from facilities, what can Hong Kong people do to support Boccia/Para athletes?

For Boccia, I personally think we need more manpower. We [Hong Kong Boccia squad] currently have a stable venue but are lacking volunteers/helpers. Our physical state is more impaired than other Para athletes, such as table tennis and wheelchair fencing ones, who can take care of themselves [independently at competitions]. We need one-to-one assistance as some of our teammates have muscular atrophy and movement disorders such as Cerebral Palsy, like me. We need people to help us take care of ourselves and help us move. We do not have a lot of full-time coaches, and half of our volunteers/part time coaches are retired persons. The other half have normal day jobs.

The biggest problem now is going to competitions during the pandemic. It now takes a long time when we head out for competitions. For example, for Dubai it took us at least a whole month. We go to the competition for at least 2 weeks and when we come back everyone had to be under quarantine for at least 2-3 weeks. Those who are still working might find it hard to take leave for such a long time and might even have to take no-paid leave to accompany us on competitions. This volunteer situation seems to be the biggest problem for us.

VOLUNTEERING INFORMATION
PROVIDED
BY HKSAPD

“Our association will always welcome volunteers. Please contact Friends of Para Sports. This association is for volunteers that help different sporting activities and will also recruit and teach Boccia volunteers. For training, as long as you [volunteers] can make time, the coach and different staff will definitely help and train you to be a volunteer.

Boccia volunteers should have enough physical strength, as one of the main tasks is to take care of the athletes. If you just want more basic duties, it is also possible. The simplest job is to assist athletes when they are training; to pick up the boccia balls as the athletes cannot do so. There are many areas that we need volunteer help in, please join friends of HKSAPD. When you join, you can also take part in other Para Sports under our association.

AGE LIMIT
There’s no age limit as there is a such a wide range of volunteer jobs available to do, but if volunteers are too young, we would need a parent to agree and would be great if a parent accompanied their child when volunteering.”

Can you tell us what your plans are for 2022/23 and if there are any competitions we can look forward to?

For short term goals, I am preparing for the competitions that will be held in October and December and also to prepare for the Asian Games in Hangzhou and the World Championships in Brazil, which is the most competitive for this year. If we gain top 3 position at the World Championships, it will mean a direct entry to Paris 2024 Paralympics. I hope to do well in these competitions.

We hope to see you in Paris 2024.

I hope so too. I will start gaining points for entry to Paris 2024 from the next few competitions.

Upcoming International Boccia Competitions

October 2022 – Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games
December 2022 – Rio de Janeiro 2022 World Boccia Championships

CONCLUDING REMARKS:

That concludes our interview. Thank you for your time. We’ve enjoyed chatting with you, Hiu Lam. You’re a ray of sunshine with your cheerfulness. When the Hong Kong people see you compete, they will be cheered up by your upbeat outlook and professional competitiveness.

Thank you so much.

We hope you will visit and use our facility again.

HKSAPD Rep: Yes, we are still planning the Regional Training Programme. We have to be careful due to the pandemic, but we’ll see what opportunities there are for further partnership with CAIS as your facilities are really good – we’ve had a good experience arranging activities at your school and appreciate your support. Thank you.


CAIS is a school that aims to serve and share its facilities with the wider community outside of school hours. During school hours, we are a dynamic place of learning, as an international through-train school, with three pathways to graduation. Outside school hours, certain allocated space, have been used by various organizations, such as a local church, and as training facility for other groups like Hong Kong Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (HKSAPD). We look forward to establishing more relationships with other organizations to support sports, art and community developments in the future, especially with the opening of the Amenities Building, which will offer even more facilities for our students, school community and the wider community.

If you are interested in hiring our facilities for group activities or meetings, feel free to contact the school at info@caisbv.edu.hk.